PhD Scholarship in Integrated Quantum Nonlinear Photonics under a DTU-MIT Collaboration

tirsdag 02 nov 21

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Frist 1. december 2021
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We are searching for an excellent candidate to fill a PhD position within the framework of a project called Quantum Networks with Nonlinear Photonics Devices (QNET-NODES) that aims at building components for quantum networks. The fundamental challenge being addressed in this project is to achieve precise control over individual photons to enable large-scale quantum information processing using photonic integrated circuits (PICs). One aspect is control over the spatio-temporal degrees of freedom of photons to enable their use as mediators of interactions between long-lived solid-state quantum memories [1]. Another aspect is control over photon-photon interactions mediated by nonlinear light-matter interactions [2,3].

Working on this project, you will be part of a larger team spread across several world-leading institutions including MIT, Sandia National Labs, MITRE, and CSEM. You will be working with state-of-the-art PICs fabricated at Sandia [4], CSEM [5], and DTU’s own nanofabrication facility DTU-NanoLab. The overarching theme of the experimental activities taking place at DTU is to expand the nonlinear optical functionality of PICs by introducing new materials via heterogeneous integration [6]. For instance, we will transfer lithium niobate (having a second-order nonlinearity) fabricated at CSEM onto the silicon nitride PICs (having only a third-order nonlinearity) fabricated at Sandia in order to enable quantum frequency conversion of photons between 737 nm (emission wavelength of diamond color centers fabricated at MIT [1]) and the telecom O-band (~1350 nm). Our heterogeneous integration approach offers significant flexibility and depending on your preferences, we can also transfer e.g. gallium arsenide chiplets containing quantum dots (fabricated at DTU) that are capable of very strong photon-photon interactions [3].   

Responsibilities and tasks
During this PhD project, you will learn about all aspects of PIC research including fundamental theory, design, simulation, gds layout, characterization, and data analysis. Your primary task will be to develop our transfer printing capabilities for heterogeneous integration using a brand-new tool from X-Celeprint. To demonstrate a complete system including quantum memories and nonlinear elements on the same PIC, you will have the possibility to spend 3-6 months at MIT working with our collaborators on cryogenic experiments. The majority of your day-to-day work will consist of optical characterization in our state-of-the-art labs, some nanofabrication at DTU-NanoLab, and numerical modelling of your experimental results. We have some flexibility under the scope of the overall research program to tailor the focus of the project according to your preferences.

As part of the Danish PhD program, you will follow several PhD courses, take part in teaching and conduct an external research stay.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. We are interested in working with candidates who are highly motivated, self-driven and ideally with experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Optical Experimentation.
  • Nanofabrication.
  • Quantum Optics.
  • Nonlinear Optics.
  • Photonic Integrated Circuits.

Other qualities of the candidate are:

  • Is academically curious and thinks deeply and creatively.
  • Takes responsibility for the progress and quality of their projects.
  • Communicates well in both written and spoken English.
  • Is empathetic and enjoys working with others from diverse backgrounds.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programs at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study program, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

Candidates will be assessed by Senior Researcher Dr. Mikkel Heuck and a department panel.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation, and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about being a PhD student at DTU here.   

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Dr. Mikkel Heuck, tel.: +45 2582 9311.

You can read more about DTU Fotonik and the Nanophotonics Section at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.  

Application procedure

Please submit your online application no later than 1 December 2021 (Danish time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion, or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Fotonik has 220 employees with competences in optics and is one of the largest departments in the world focusing solely on research in photonics. Research is performed within nanophotonics, lasers, quantum photonics, optical sensors, LEDs, photovoltaics, ultra-high speed optical transmission systems, and bio-photonics.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programs, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world. 

  1. N. H. Wan, T.-J. Lu, K. C. Chen, M. P. Walsh, M. E. Trusheim, L. De Santis, E. A. Bersin, I. B. Harris, S. L. Mouradian, I. R. Christen, E. S. Bielejec, and D. Englund, "Large-scale integration of artificial atoms in hybrid photonic circuits," Nature 583(7815), 226–231 (2020).
  2. M. Heuck, K. Jacobs, and D. R. Englund, "Controlled-Phase Gate Using Dynamically Coupled Cavities and Optical Nonlinearities," Phys. Rev. Lett. 124(16), 160501 (2020).
  3. S. Krastanov, K. Jacobs, D. R. Englund, and M. Heuck, "Controlled-Phase Gate by Dynamic Coupling of Photons to a Two-Level Emitter," arXiv [quant-ph] (2021).
  4. P. R. Stanfield, A. J. Leenheer, C. P. Michael, R. Sims, and M. Eichenfield, "CMOS-compatible, piezo-optomechanically tunable photonics for visible wavelengths and cryogenic temperatures," Opt. Express 27(20), 28588–28605 (2019).
  5. E. Obrzud, S. Denis, H. Sattari, G. Choong, S. Kundermann, O. Dubochet, M. Despont, S. Lecomte, A. Ghadimi, and V. Brasch, "Stable and compact RF-to-optical link using lithium niobate on insulator waveguides," arXiv [] (2021).
  6. C. Op de Beeck, B. Haq, L. Elsinger, A. Gocalinska, E. Pelucchi, B. Corbett, G. Roelkens, and B. Kuyken, "Heterogeneous III-V on silicon nitride amplifiers and lasers via microtransfer printing," Optica 7(5), 386–393 (2020).